Francesco Piemontesi_Marco Borggreve
Francesco Piemontesi Photo: Marco Borggreve

Ticino pianist Francesco Piemontesi is coming to Klosters Music for the first time

His schedule is well filled again. In February, Francesco Piemontesi gave guest performances, with a Bach-Busoni-Recital in the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Basel Stadtcasino. In March, in addition to Richard Strauss’ “Burleske”, Robert Schumann’s piano concerto will also be on the programme, which the Swiss pianist will play in Hanover, Brunswick and Vienna, among others. But Piemontesi always had enough to do even in the last two years in the Corona pandemic, playing concerts with a modified programme or only as a live stream without an audience. In addition, he finally took the time to rehearse and record Franz Liszt’s “Transcendental Etudes” , as he tells in conversation with Arnt Cobbers in the podcast “Klassik viral”. A long-planned project for which the pianist had lacked the leisure in his normal concert schedule.

”I could always take my time”

Born in Locarno in 1983, the Ticino native can look back on a great international career. After studying at the Lugano Conservatory, he joined the Israeli piano professor Arie Vardie at the  Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. Piano legends Alfred Brendel and Murray Perahia are also among his teachers. “I have never had a media career, I was lucky enough to be able to develop continuously and quite organically. I could always take my time”, Piemontesi recently told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper. The pianist likes to occupy himself long and thoroughly with a composer and wants to illuminate the music from all sides. He presented all of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s solo works at London’s Wigmore Hall at an early age. His Mozart playing has naturalness and transparency. His light, highly differentiated touch shows his interest in historical performance practice – he has a harpsichord in his Berlin apartment. The music of Franz Schubert is essential to his survival. He works out the abysses in it, but also the totally dreamy, bright places of longing.

Rigour and freedom, head and heart

“Francesco Piemontesi knows exactly the context of the piece he is playing. This pianist sings at the piano. And he has a wonderful combination of rigour and freedom, of head and heart in his playing,” says Sir Antonio Pappano, principal conductor of  Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, about the Swiss pianist, with whom he has worked several times. Piemontesi likes to think outside the box, drawing inspiration from architecture and nature. As artistic director, he has been in charge of the annual “Settimane Musicali di Ascona” festival since 2012. But he is also a regular concertgoer and works as a performer on transferring the tones of an orchestra to the piano. And on telling a story that goes further than the harmony of tones.

Orchestral tones on the piano

Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor op. 54, which he performs at the opening concert of Klosters Music together with the Münchener Kammerorchester under the Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, is a declared favourite work of his, since here piano and the orchestra are particularly closely interwoven. Individual melodic sections even move from one to the other there, as in the first movement. For him, this concerto has many soloists, not just the piano. For Piemontesi, the short intermezzo must be played quite delicately. The finale – a mixture of exuberant dance and heroic victory. The Klosters Music audience can look forward to this.

Opening concert “Romantic Awakening” on 30 July 2022 at 7 pm in the concert hall of the Klosters Arena. Gioachino Rossini: Overture from “Wilhelm Tell,” Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor op. 54 (Piano: Francesco Piemontesi), Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Symphony No. 4 in A major “Italian”, Münchener Kammerorchester, Conductor: Pablo Heras-Casado.